The Los Angeles Kings opened training camp on Friday without their most important defenseman, and while there’s not much known about the particulars of Drew Doughty’s upper-body injury, Kings hockey operations have confirmed that the issue is of the “day-to-day” variety.
More from Lisa Dillman:
Kings playing it safe w/Doughty. His injury occurred back home (London, Ont) when he was skating with a pro group…
— lisa dillman (@reallisa) September 19, 2014
Tweaks and bumps that arise during summer training sessions aren’t uncommon and are often revealed on the first day of camp. Of course, there was the hamstring injury that Dustin Brown suffered the day that camp opened a season ago and caused him to miss the entire preseason.
That’s not to say that Brown’s and Doughty’s ailments are similar. Brown’s injury would be classified as a lower-body injury, and Doughty’s was revealed to be something ailing the upper-body. And judging from what we’ve learned from hockey operations, Doughty’s absence from today’s practice, deemed “precautionary” by hockey operations, doesn’t on first glance appear to be something that will keep him off the ice for the length of time that Brown was sidelined last September.
Still, if this develops into a nagging issue – and there’s not necessarily anything that would suggest it will – there are challenges for players who don’t benefit from the same starting date as their peers.
“I think the biggest thing for me last year was just the timing of everything,” Brown recalled of his experience dealing with an injury setback at training camp a season ago. “Physically, you can get into shape whether it’s in the room or just skating. But the first week, I find, is where players find their timing, and that’s really the hardest thing to get back after being off the ice for a couple months. I mean, you could see it today in practice – just the timing of passing and skating and doing everything at a higher tempo. When you miss the first couple weeks of camp – I mean, it varies from player to player – but I know my time was off for a while, and part of it’s because you missed the first couple weeks of camp. Everyone else’s timing is really good probably by two weeks in, and you’re trying to catch up.”
Again, there aren’t necessarily parallels between Brown’s experience and what Doughty will go through when he returns to full team practices in the near future. But it’s an interesting take on the challenges faced by players who have to play catch-up while looking to build up their strength, endurance, reads and timing in advance of a new season.